If 2020 was the year of ecommerce growth, 2021 will be the year of the ecommerce experience evolution. Customers will increasingly dictate how, when and where they want to shop, and retailers need to pivot fast to offer them more channels and more convenient choices.
Brands that win in ecommerce can significantly lower customer acquisition costs while increasing speed to market, customer responsiveness, business innovation and sales.
Based on this, here are three ecommerce experience trends to watch in 2021:
Diverse Customers = Diverse Customer Experiences
2020 brought many new customers online who previously made their purchases primarily in brick-and-mortar stores. The demographic backgrounds of shoppers have become more diverse in terms of age, region and education, leaving ecommerce sellers with an expanded target group, which they can best reach by addressing them individually.
Accomplishing this is easiest using a headless commerce approach, which separates the back end systems from the front end systems such as the user interface, giving companies the flexibility to react quickly to changes. Using headless, they can easily respond to customer wishes and take into account specific needs based on the demographic background of buyers.
Analog Meets Digital in Best of Both Worlds
One sales strategy that picked up significant steam in 2020, especially when it came to product launches, is the online-only approach. Sony put PlayStation 5 on the market with this concept, and consumer electronics is now already seeing the first copycat campaigns – with other industries expected to follow.
Another ecommerce experience trend that is likely to develop further in 2021 is the hybrid concept of click and collect. The combination of the two shopping worlds brings advantages: Convenient selection and fast payment coupled with the experience of being able to inspect goods directly without having to line up for checkout. In addition, there is no need to return goods if they are not to a customer’s liking, which saves resources in terms of sustainability while also reducing costs.
In-Car Shopping Picks Up Speed
More and more vehicle suppliers are equipping new cars with Android Auto or Apple Car Play as standard features. These systems allow smartphone functions to be used with the vehicle’s infotainment system, opening up a new sales channel. With the increasingly perfected voice control of vehicle manufacturers, in-car shopping is moving into the fast lane, so to speak. Say “Hey Mercedes” and its audio sisters and brothers provide the link to online portals. Meanwhile, Audi has already redefined mobility in 2020 by turning the car into a store with functions on demand.
Behind all of these trends, data and flexibility are the keys to success in bringing an increasingly individualized and tailored offering to customers. It can be assumed that even in the second year of the pandemic, consumers’ living conditions will keep changing. Increasing tracking and analytics capabilities will be essential to keeping up with fast-changing customer requirements, likes and dislikes.
Companies must position themselves for this challenge with technology in order to react flexibly and quickly and provide a winning, holistic ecommerce experience. This is the only way to survive in a competitive landscape or stay ahead in the race to win over shoppers.
Hauke Rahm is VP of Customer Success at commercetools